I’d love to say ‘oh yeah, I’ve got it all sorted’, it’s been a journey of self-discovery #blessed’. But erm. No. I’m not entirely comfortable in my own skin, but I think I’m getting there. I hope. Maybe? Fark.
Is it a global phenomena? Or just a couple of odd balls like me that get like that? I often wonder how other people feel about themselves. Is it easy to feel comfortable in your skin? I’m never sure.
Even when you deal with wellbeing and sorting people’s brains out for a living, it’s still hard stuff to take on board for yourself. I’m not selling myself very well here, am I?
As we are growing up, being comfortable in who you are is tough. You’re trying to find who you are. When you’re little, well you can run around nude, pick your nose and eat it (actually some adults still do this. PLEASE STOP. PLEASE STOP NOW) and then wear five layers of garish socks and not bat an eyelid. And no one else bats and eyelid either. Because. Kid life. But as you grow older, you start to notice others around you, and invariably start to compare yourself to others around you and that shit is tough. Really tough. Particularly when you’re not the cream of the crop.
You know how we often feel like we have to don our superhero capes, totally do everything for everyone, even at the expense of ourselves? Or maybe I’m just one of those ridiculous over-achievers. Actually, good chance of that. Well I’ve learned a very important lesson these past couple of weeks- it’s ok to quit sometimes.
Have you ever quit anything? How did it make you feel? For me, I’ve never quit out of anything before. EVAH. Even when it sucks balls, I still see things through to the end. Because. Stubborn biatch. I think we’re often raised to think that we don’t quit, and if we do quit- or switch out of something, then we’re weak, indecisive, we can’t follow through. And that reflects badly on us.
Next up in our monster series is the very good friend of our little (or not so little) worry monster, the sad monster.
Sad monsters are pretty common, although while it’s easy to spot in adults, it can be really tricky to spot in kids. And for poor cherubs, an attack of the sad monster can be the absolute worst. It’s a serious issue that we need to address sooner rather than later. In the past we thought that children couldn’t get depressed. I mean, really, what’s there to be sad about when the biggest decision you need to make in a day is whether to eat from the blue plate or the yellow plate, right? Sadly not quite. Although it is less common in younger children than it is in adolescents, there are some studies that propose that 4% of preschool children show symptoms of depression and 10% of children aged 6-12 years deal with persistent feelings of depression, and 2% of those children go on to develop serious depression. Once you hit the age of 12, the stats rise, until you get to 16 and depression is now one of the leading causes of death in young people. Horrific to think, isn’t it? (See info here and here). It can even impact babies if they’re not given enough nurturing contact and develop a positive attachment. Babies can become apathetic, unresponsive, suffer from failure to thrive. All through depression. Not cool.
So I was trying to work from home (read: getting distracted by ALL the things and simultaneously wrangling kids), struggling to keep all the balls juggling in the air and wanting to hide under the dining room table, and I was reminded of this ‘controversial’ concept raised by Gisele Bundchen late last year where she advocates that Mother’s need to put themselves first. Haven’t read the article? Check it out here.
And apparently she’s been met with a some backlash over it? My first thought was “damn straight, Skippy”. And not just for Mothers- for EVERYONE! My number one thing I say to almost every client I have (big and little) is you can’t be there for anyone else unless you’re there for yourself. Fact. Now, I’m no fan of Gisele, some of the stuff she’s said in the past has been a bit naff to be honest, but this point is something to take on board.
Hello! It’s that time again, where I come here and waffle some crud on some stuff and hope it makes sense. Sounding really profesh, right? I know. I have no faith in me too after that glowing introduction. Anyways, let’s push ahead, shall we?
Last week we chatted about our monsters, and I wanted to know what your monsters were like. And then my manic monster took over and I haven’t even had a chance to respond to your comments yet. Noice. I promise I’m going to. My ‘sir paranoid a lot’ monster will make sure of it.
We know there’s lots of monsters out there, but the first cab off the rank is one of the biggest monsters, we and our kids often face. The dreaded worry monster. I’m going to talk about anxiety in worry monster format, in the hopes that it might help if you have a cherub who is currently afflicted with said monster. Because sometimes as a parent (or as a teacher or anyone who deals with kids!) it’s hard to put into words what anxiety is, in a way that kids are going to grab a hold of, and most importantly, not blame themselves for.
Ever have those moments where you just can see that something isn’t going to go to plan, unless you step in? Feel loathed to share the remote control at home, lest you be stuck watching utter drivel? Ever decide to just take over tidying up, because things are not being put back where they should? I’m feeling ya…. I really am.
Control freaks get a bad rap. Often seen as domineering, picky, and pushy, people often try to steer clear. But it’s not all negatives!
Let’s have a look to see if you’re a control freak. Answer the questions below with as much brutal honesty as you can. I promise I wont judge you on your responses… much….muahahahaha.
It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at the other side, and this is a rather apt post, given our chat about food and mood. When we get extreme with stuff, it can really muck with us. Eating disorders strip our gut of our happy juices, strip our minds of stability and sense, they are insidious. And when they happen to someone you love? I cannot begin to describe the helplessness that is felt. It’s like you’re trapped outside the glasshouse. You’re screaming, beating at the glass. You can see what needs to happen for the person inside, but they can’t see you, nor hear you. Instead you just watch on as they destroy themselves, without realising they’re doing it.
My experience with eating disorders doesn’t just come from a professional aspect, it’s been a personal issue I’ve seen too. One of my dearest and closest friends battled courageously for years and years, and has recently begun to come out the other side. But it’s never over. Never ever over. She graciously agreed to share her story.
So, for today’s Wellness Wednesday post, I’m all about the food. Mainly because I feel like an oompa loompa post-Easter. Because. Chocolate fiend and lack of self-control. But food is the shiz. Truly. It does so much for us.
Now I just need to be open from the get go. I am no dietician. I can’t go and break down food into chemical properties etc. But I do know about mood. And what impacts on mood. We psychs get trained on the physiological aspects of the body and brain and what can influence mood. And food? It’s got a big role to play.
Mindfulness. It’s this new ‘buzz’ term going around these days. And by new, I mean it’s actually thousands of years old and utilised all.the.time in Eastern philosphies. But us Westerners have now grabbed on and yelled ‘well golly gosh! Look at us clever Western folk! We’ve found a new way of being!” Facepalm.
Anyways. I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness. But… the ‘feel the peace’, kumbayah stuff? I.cannot.do. I giggle without fail at the mere hint of an ‘ommm’. But I so want to be on that mindfulness train, I do. Zen, come at me. So if you’re a bit like me and want to be mindful but don’t want the hippy children-of-tomorrow shit, then read on.
Ok, I’m calling it. This working mum vs Stay at home mum stuff is bullshit. I’m so sick of seeing lists and ideas pitting one against the other. It doesn’t help any of us. Or dads for that matter. You don’t see them copping this kind of shit. Let’s think about the psychological upheaval having kids does to one’s mind. It’s crazy. One day you feel in control, next you feel like you’re not cut out for it. One day you feel so grateful and blessed to be in the position you’re in, the next you feel ready to tear your hair out with the mundane and the Groundhog day. BOTH working mums and stay at home mums feel this. Doesn’t matter the location, doesn’t matter where the kids are. This is an intrinsic thing within us all. So let’s clear a few things up:
No, working mums don’t get to enjoy coffees in peace. Because often they are running around so madly trying to cram in so much extra work into a shorter time frame so they can get out the door to get to their kids. They too suffer from the cold cup syndrome.
No, stay at home mums don’t lounge on the couch eating bon bons and go have fun coffee chats and playdates every day. It’s a grind. A big grind. Of cooking, cleaning, keeping kids alive, running errands, keeping everything in line. There’s no let up.
There’s been a ton of these articles getting around late, espousing what not to say to a working mum, or what you should never say to a stay at home mum. For fucks sake. Let’s just stop it all now, shall we? We are our own worst enemies sometimes, perpetuating this division. So I propose let’s make a list- 5 things you should never say to a Mum. That’s it. A MUM. With no caveat about being at home or at work. Because that is irrelevant. Or you know, we could even stretch out on a limb and say things you should never say to a Dad. Ooooh errrr… taboo!
Don’t ask a Mum what she does all day. Whether that be ‘lounging at work’ or ‘lounging at home’. Mums are freaking busy. No matter where or what they do, they are busy. There is no let up. The job just continues around the clock. Whether it be working outside the home and then rushing home to work in the home, and then having to take outside work home with them. Or whether it’s working in the home, from 6am until 10pm. We ALL work non-stop.
Don’t tell a Mum she looks tired. No shit. She will be tired. Whether she’s at home all day (no she doesn’t get to have a rest) or whether she’s at work all day (no she can’t use her lunch break to rest. Because often she doesn’t get a lunch break), she’s going to be tired.
Don’t say to a Mum “I don’t know how you do it” Whether working, or choosing not to work, coping can be tough either way. Being at work for a lot is a necessity. How do they cope being away from their kids? They do it bloody tough. Even when women work because they need that for themselves, they still don’t escape that feeling of sadness and guilt at missing their children. Being at home is also a tough gig. Giving up a career, walking away from a job which gave satisfaction and an income? That too brings its own guilt at times.
Don’t bring up choosing career over kids, or choosing kids over career. Either way the decision is a hard one. And often not done flippantly.
Never ask “don’t you feel like you’re missing something” Erm. No. No no no no no. Working mums ARE missing their kids and stay at home mums ARE missing that previous career. For the most part. There are some working mums who feel like they’ve got the best deal, and there are some stay at home mums who feel like they’ve got the best deal.
We all come from different walks of life, with different values and different priorities. But no matter what our own values and ideas are, you know something? All of us are just trying to do our best for our kids. If we feel that’s us going out and working, then we’re out there doing it. If we feel that’s us being at home, then we’re doing it. Can we just cut ourselves some slack here? One type of mum is no more superior than the other, our kids are going to thrive regardless of our decision to work or stay home. Wanna know why? Because whatever we’re doing, we’re doing for THEM. And they know it. They don’t know any different- they see us working in the home and out of the home. It’s about quality, not quantity. And ensuring they know they’re loved, they feel secure and safe and they’re happy. That’s it. Happiness comes in many forms.
For all the studies that show children are better off with a parent at home, you’ll find an equal amount of studies showing children thrive when parents work. Research is a ridiculous thing. You can skew data to show you almost anything you want it to. Don’t be fooled by ‘scientific’ studies and ‘experts’. Truly. It’s all smoke and mirrors. There are often many caveats in their research and when it comes to human functioning there is no precise, hard and fast rule. What works for one might not work for another.
So what does it come down to? Respect. Simple really. Respect for others’ choices, or necessities. Respect that others’ situations work for them, and we have no right to go raining on their parade. And where do we think our kids learn respect from? If we can’t show it to other Mums, what hope do our kids have?